In healthcare, compliance isn’t just about following the rules — how do you manage when it’s a matter of life and death? Joining us on this episode is Virginia MacSuibhne, Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer of Roche Molecular Solutions, talking about holding themselves to higher standards, operating on values, and the power of diversity.
Compliance and healthcare
Healthcare is a highly regulated industry that essentially boils down to having a comprehensive quality management system. Tests that detect things such as cancer, or HPV, or the Zika Virus need to work and deliver consistent and accurate results.
So there is no need to explain why compliance is important. The whole company gets it. These are test results that people rely on — it could be you, a parent, a sibling, or a grandparent, waiting to ensure that the test result they get is right. So the people working on this hold themselves to a higher standard and are making sure they cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s because it’s important. There’s a patient — a real person — on the other end of it.
Having products that need to be delivered all over the world means having to deal with wildly inconsistent regulations, and that’s where Roche values, leadership commitments, and cultural beliefs come into play. Much of their growth also comes from acquisitions, which means the merging of very different workplace cultures. But at the end of the day, everybody is in the healthcare space, and people understand that it’s about doing the right thing.
Diversity of women in compliance
Thirteen out of the fourteen people in Virginia’s team are women, and they have a diverse background of life experiences and skill sets, represent almost every race on the spectrum, speak different languages, married, divorced, single parents, single with no kids, some people with disabilities, and with ages ranging from their 20s to their 60s. Sometimes we think about diversity in pretty narrow terms, but it’s this diversity that brings richness and perspectives into the mix.
Virginia believes that the reason women are more prevalent in the field is because it’s new — there’s no need to start by breaking the glass ceiling, which is empowering.
The future of compliance
Compliance is only becoming more institutionalized. Her advice is to go to the conferences and begin to network. Start thinking about how you can write, speak, present, and share ideas. The best things this community has come up with has come from collaborating with people who share different perspectives and can take our ideas one step further.
In terms of looking forward, social media is changing the compliance landscape, and very rapidly! When a case has media coverage, you don’t have three weeks to prepare a press release. You have five minutes, if that. People are asking for opinions minutes after new laws are released. It’s going to affect our data, information, governance, and privacy.